Clean Action, Stark Story – Gangsta 32

One of the things I like about Gangsta is how gorgeous the action is.  In the current chapter, Gangsta 32, we’re treated to this amazing shot:

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But, as I feared, things are not going well for our dear Nicolas Brown. To be fair, he does seem to be winning his fight against Wonderweiss Mikhail and Erica, but at what cost?

The chapter actually opens with Worrick on the phone to Alex.  He apologizes for not making it to her singing show and generally chats her up (like he does.)  He asks to speak to Nic and gets a shocker: he’s not there.  We flash to the on-going fight where Nic is clearly (as I suspected) super-duper extra-dosed.  Then we cut-away to Delaco’s sister (figurative or literal, she calls him onii-chan, but he refers to himself as her nakama, colleague.)  She’s just woken up and has a flash back of Delaco buying her shoes; this pisses her off because even though he says they’re equals, he’s clearly left her to go off to fight (and probably die.)

Back to said fight in-progress, we see Delaco watching Nic fight.  He’s totally jealous.  He wishes he could survive crazy uppers overdoses like Nic can. Nic helpfully gives us his own flashback where we hear that Dr. Theo’s noxious little concoction will only last 10 minutes after injection and then the sweats will hit and limbs will start going numb. (Awesome. Especially since Nic is clearly already sweating.)

Back to Worrick who is basically hearing the same thing. After listening to Dr. Theo go on about how the new drug works and how much it will probably ultimately wreck Nic, Worrick reiterates that, frankly, Theo is possibly the sh*ttiest doctor on the face of the earth. (Agreed.)

Dr. Mengele Theo leaves us with a lovely parting line: “I have no interest in those who die.”

Since we got a black panel right before the cut back to the fight after that doozy of a line, I expected to see Nic face plant from an overdose. However, we see Mikhail taken out.  Though we don’t see the damage until later, Nic has expertly sliced the little runt’s Achilles tendons–effectively grounding him.  As Mikhail whines about how Nic is totally not acting like he did the last time they tussled, Delico rushes over with a vial (which I assume contains the downer injection.)  He’s almost on top of the kid, but, despite his injuries Mikhail makes a move that looks like curtains for Delico.  Nic jumps in the way.

It looks everyone is in a kind of Mexican stand-off when a voice off-screen tells Erica to stand down.

Then out steps… this guy:

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And… I have no idea who that is.

So I’m going to have to wait until the next chapter, where I’m sure it will be revealed.  Kosuke-sensei seems to be weaving a very skillful story here (one that operates on a number of levels), so I’m not nearly as concerned that I don’t recognize this person.  For instance, I have a feeling if I never figure out all the political connections to the various families in Ergastulum, I’ll still get interesting backstory/interaction between Worrick and Nic and the other Twilights and Humans I’m invested in.

This is one thing that Gangsta has over Hitogatana, in my opinion.  The art is stylized and sharp over at Hitogatana, but sometimes the story only works if you remember all the various plot mechanizations (hence my review in which I said I was completely lost). Gangsta is more skillfully written so that if you don’t catch all the details, you’re still in for a hell of a ride.  The best manga are like this.  The kind that grow deeper in re-reads.

I’ve been enjoying the down time moments of the recent Hitogatana* chapters, but I’m all in with Gangsta.

Now I just have to hope that Nic survives this latest overdose or there may be gross sobbing.

*Hitogatana #25 is out now, as well.

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